Tag Archives: PTFE

Pump Packing for Abrasive Materials

Abrasive media comes in many forms—from mining slurries to wood pulp and even substances as seemingly mild as liquid chocolate. This diversity rules out a one-size-fits-all solution for abrasive pumping applications. However, today’s broad range of materials, from carbon fiber packing to graphite-filled polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) bushings, includes products capable of meeting an equally broad range of abrasive wear requirements.

Carbon Fiber Packing

Few materials offer the abrasive resistance and heat dissipation of carbon fiber yarns. Braided compression packing made from this material excels under extreme conditions, including exposure to a variety of chemicals, temperatures approaching 850 F (454 C) in oxygen-rich atmospheres (up to 1,200 F/649 C in steam) and shaft speeds in excess of 4,000 feet per minute (fpm).

The strength of carbon fiber yarns combined with their ability to draw heat from pump shafts make them the material of choice for resisting abrasive wear. Unfortunately, they do not seal as well as graphite foil packing. Upon closer examination, however, the speed and temperature capabilities of these two materials are similar.

Consider this hypothetical scenario: An abrasive pumping application is under control using carbon fiber, except for excessive leakage across the packing set. Depending on the nature of the leaking media, it may not be desirable to have it pooling on the plant floor. Even if it is just water, excessive leaking media is lost profit. If the leakage is clean, the carbon fiber packing is effectively excluding abrasives.

Carbon Fiber Rings and Foil Packing

When dealing with clean media, graphite foil packing becomes an option. At a subsequent repacking, it may be advisable to use just two carbon fiber rings in the bottom of the stuffing box and use graphite foil packing for the remaining rings. Continue reading Pump Packing for Abrasive Materials

Sealing at Extreme Low Temperatures

Article re-posted with permission from Parker Hannifin Sealing & Shielding Team.

Original content can be found on Parker’s Website and was written by Nathan Wells, application engineer, Engineered Polymer Systems Division.


Heavy duty equipment moves industry forward in all climates, from the sunny Caribbean to icy Greenland. Effective, reliable sealing is what allows hydraulic systems in heavy duty equipment to do work, no matter the temperature. Reliable sealing solutions allow cylinders on dump trucks and excavators to move icy, frozen tundra, and allow actuators on subsea valves to operate 5,000 – 20,000 feet below the surface of the ocean. We depend on these seals for our safety and productivity, so a little chilly weather is no reason to call it quits.

What happens to seals at cold temperatures?

Most objects shrink as they get cold, with few exceptions, such as water. This applies to all matter in the universe. Materials shrink at different rates, and this is a measurable property called the Coefficient of Thermal Expansion (CoTE). Thermoset elastomers and thermoplastics shrink roughly 5 times more than metals for a given temperature change. This means at cold temperatures, seals shrink more than their housings, and thus have less “squeeze” to make a tight seal.

To make matters worse, elastomers also harden as the temperature drops. At some temperatures, known for each material as its Glass Transition Temperature (abbreviated ‘Tg’), seals become rock hard and brittle … like glass. We don’t make seals out of glass for a reason; they wouldn’t work. In order to keep seals springy and resilient, we need to specify materials with a Tg below the coldest temperature a system will see.

In very high pressure, low temperature applications, there is one additional concern. Applying pressure to seals effectively raises the Tg of the material by about +1°C per 750 PSI. This is called Pressure-Induced Glass Transition and is the reason high pressure seals fail slightly above their measured Tg. Continue reading Sealing at Extreme Low Temperatures

Case Study: 3-A® Compliant Rod Seal Capable of Handling High-Pressure

Valves are indispensable components in the hygienically sensitive systems used in the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. Until now, there were no high-pressure valves available for food-product contact applications that conformed to 3-A® standards. These global hygiene standards address the design and manufacturing of components that come into contact with food.

Bardiani Valvole approached Gallagher’s partner, Freudenberg Sealing Technologies, for help in developing a solution to tap into its material expertise. As a result of joint cooperation, Freudenberg engineers developed a main rod seal that was both 3-A® compliant and capable of handling high-pressure of up to 2175 psi (150 bar) that the customer’s valve required. The main rod seal incorporates proven Freudenberg technology with advanced component design in an entirely new combination that is also compatible with other industrial high-pressure valves.

picture of valve example
Copyright: Bardiani Valvole Spa

Prototypes produced without any tools

The 3-A® compliant main rod seal combines a sealing lip, manufactured from EPDM 302 or Fluoroprene® XP 43, with a backup ring made of PTFE. Freudenberg’s product engineers were inspired by the design of a proven shaft seal and an O-ring with a backup ring. In order to meet development and cost deadlines, the team initially produced one-off prototypes to share with Bardiani Valvole using the unique capabilities of Freudenberg Xpress®, a fast turnaround, high-quality manufacturing service that can generate custom seals in as little as a day. It offers machined seals made of original materials and original profiles for prototypes, spare parts or economical small series.

By eliminating the need to set up manufacturing tooling to produce sample parts, this results in considerable cost and time advantages for the customer. Thanks to special turning and milling techniques, individual designs can be tuned to exact specifications. The tailor-made sealing solution for the new high-pressure valve could also be produced economically in an extremely short time. The Freudenberg Xpress® Service is represented at numerous Freudenberg sites worldwide, enabling rapid delivery of spare parts, for example.

The seal’s design is free of dead space and prevents residue infiltration from process and cleaning media. It is hygienic, easier to clean, and compliant with all relevant material specifications for food, beverage, and pharmaceutical industry applications. Both materials used have very good thermal resistance and excellent mechanical properties. They also meet the demanding requirements for use in Cleaning in Place and Sterilization in Place (CIP/SIP) processes. Continue reading Case Study: 3-A® Compliant Rod Seal Capable of Handling High-Pressure

Freudenberg Sealing Technologies Launches Modular Sealing Unit

Freudenberg Sealing Technologies has developed a new, innovative sealing concept for small, electric household appliances. // Copyright: Freudenberg Sealing Technologies 2020

Freudenberg Sealing Technologies has launched series production of a modular sealing unit that combines a classic radial shaft seal with a plastic outer case. The design promotes better long-term seal performance and longevity, is easier to assemble, and significantly lowers manufacturing costs in comparison with traditional metal-encased radial shaft seal units. Freudenberg has developed the innovative sealing concept for use in general industry applications that are especially focused on small, electric household appliances.

Whether it’s to knead bread dough, mix a cake batter, puree soup ingredients or blend a smoothie, most people reach for an electric kitchen appliance to get the job done. The durability of the appliance depends largely on how well the seal at the outlet point of the drive shaft protects the interior from ingress of food residue or liquids. Seals made of high-quality elastomers or the polymer polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) combine low wear with excellent long-term resistance against leakage. In the past, a metal case was the best option available to maintain the integrity of the seal’s performance over a long period of time. Freudenberg Sealing Technologies has now succeeded in developing a modular sealing concept with a plastic case that meets the specific requirements for long-term performance as well as those made of metal. There are three major advantages to the new design: Significantly, in the price-sensitive, small appliance industry, the lower production costs associated with forming enclosures from plastic is an important consideration. In addition, Freudenberg’s modular sealing unit concept accommodates the integration of additional components, such as shaft bearings. Finally, because small appliance housings are typically made from plastic, fastening the seal case to the appliance housing is easier to achieve. Continue reading Freudenberg Sealing Technologies Launches Modular Sealing Unit

Evolving from Plastic to Teflon Seals

The term “plastics” is generic way of describing a synthetic material made from a wide range of organic polymers. Organic polymers describes a man-made substance that is formulated using polymer chains to create what we commonly refer to as…(you guessed it), plastics.

Before plastic, leather had been used to create Backup ring devices behind O-rings. Leather allows fluids to be retained, providing lubrication for the O-ring when the system was running dry.

picture of teflonThe problem with leather was that it could become dry and shrink away from the sealing service, exposing the elastomer to same pressure it was intended to protect against.

With the advent of polymers, a piece of plastic could be cut or formed into the exact shape to allow for zero extrusion gap, and for continued protection for the O-ring.

Some polymers were very brittle. Since they needed to be deformed to allow for installation into solid glands, the cut of the plastic could nibble at the O-ring, causing premature failure of the element it was supposed to be protecting.

The Revolution of PTFE

When PTFE moved out of the lab and into industrial use, it quickly found itself adjacent to the O-ring. PTFE offers extrusion resistance and, at the same time, doesn’t erode or nibble at the O-ring due to the “softness” of the polymer.(Hardness between 55 and 65 Shore D)

Given the composition of PTFE, or Teflon, it could be utilized as a sealing element to protect Backup rings and conform to the shaft. The bonus was it was generally easy on shafts (depending on the filler added to the PTFE).

There are some negative aspects to Teflon that needed to be overcome by early engineers. First, it has a fairly high rate of Thermal expansion which, by its own nature, could often times lose contact with the sealing surface. This meant some kind of loading was necessary to ensure contact.

PTFE is as tough as other polymers, so the fact that it could seal on a shaft made it vulnerable during installation for tears or nicks on sealing surface.

Second, if it were stretched during installation, the material had to be sized back to its original shape due to its poor elastic properties. Continue reading Evolving from Plastic to Teflon Seals

Next Level PTFE Performance for Sanitary Applications

Bacteria accumulation can ruin product and put consumer health at risk.

Bacteria accumulation is a serious issue in the food manufacturing industry – it can ruin product and put consumer health at risk.

While many know that Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is an excellent choice for use in diaphragms and gaskets, most do not realize that there exist varying grades of PTFE. Some lower cost PTFE offerings may contain an excessive volume of pores within their structure which can harbor organic contaminants such as bacteria.

To address this problem, a calendared manufacturing process is used. Calendared PTFE is a premium grade PTFE designed for use in aseptic applications requiring ultra-high purity standards. It is ideal for use in food, pharmaceuticals and a variety of clean markets.

picture of molded diaphragm
Molded Diaphragm made from calendared PTFE

Distinguished by an extremely low void content, calendared PTFE resists permeation and the accumulation of foreign matter, reducing the risk of harboring unwanted bacteria or residual media.

To achieve this, the unique manufacturing process orients the chains of PTFE in a lattice-like structure that reduces voids in the material and provides it with biaxial strength. This unique structure also delivers a very high flex life. When tested in an MIT Folding Endurance Tester, the flex life of calendared PTFE is four-times greater than conventional PTFE materials.

Unlike the skived process that is commonly used for PTFE manufacturing, the calendaring process produces uniform sheets of material with consistent physical properties. This gives calendared PTFE a renowned reputation for predictable performance and quality. The opposite is true for skived PTFE where variable properties lead to varying performance and reliability.

Continue reading Next Level PTFE Performance for Sanitary Applications

The Many Uses of Polytetrafluoroethylene Seals (Teflon)

Better known as Teflon in the industry, Polytetrafluoroethylene is widely used in practically every industry on and off the planet (and even beneath its surface!)

Medical Uses

white ptfe o-ring-teflonThis material’s primary claim to fame is its resistance to most chemicals. It inherently has an extremely low coefficient of friction, it’s easily machined from rods, tubes, or compression-molded shapes.

It’s one of the few polymers that are approved for medical implants due to its inertness to bodily fluids — the immune system principally ignores its presence in the body.

Moving away from the body, you’ll find PTFE or Teflon products in medical devices such as heart lung machines, rotary tools for cutting, and sealing devices for maintaining fluid streams for irrigation and pumping. Tiny fragments that may come loose during usage are not harmful to the body, and simply pass through the system.

Pharmaceutical Uses

In the pharmaceutical industry, Teflon is used in the processing of drugs for equipment used to manufacture such as mixers, presses, and bushings. Teflon is found in a variety of applications, as any debris from the seal will pass through the body without consequence.

When considering press machinery (which are often water driven to ensure any leakage will not spoil the product), Teflon seals are often used to help reduce friction — especially in repetitive presses where a build-up of heat would be detrimental to the seal and the product.

Food & Beverage Uses

Mixers are another area to ensure keeping grease and other contaminants from the motor to not descend into the product from the mixer shaft.

Another area is pressure vessels where two shells are clamped together to ensure product remains sealed inside. Failure of these seals usually results in loss of product.

Non-metal bearings that don’t requiring grease in rotary motion are an excellent place for Teflon style bushings. These bushings provide long life with very low friction while not contaminating the product. Shaft wear from the bushing may be eliminated with the use of Teflon.

Types of PTFE (Teflon) Seals

Seals in the medical field can be as simple as a static O-Ring, or a mechanical face seal which is costly and requires special consideration during installation. Most dynamic applications can be resolved with spring-energized style seals, which often have very low friction and can be clean in place (CIP) if required.

There are different styles of springs, such as cantilever or canted coil that provide varying loads. The cantilever-style spring-energized seal provides a linear load based on deflection providing a high level of seal-ability. It can be silicone-filled to provide CIP for ease of washing, and there are a variety of materials that are FDA compliant and that work well in both viscous and pure aqueous fluids.

Canted coil spring-energized seals provide a unique feature of controlling the load the spring exhibits on the sealing element. This allows for control of a device being manipulated during a procedure.

The polymer properties give the user materials with the lowest possible friction, while still sealing in an application. The load from a canted coil spring allows the user to feel a tool in a catheter while passing the catheter through a tube, and still retaining a seal.

As you can see, PTFE has a variety of uses across a broad range of industries. GFS’ partner, Eclipse Engineering, manufactures PTFE and can help provide solutions to customers facing both simple fixes or complex problems.

Contact us today to see if PTFE might be the right choice for your application.


For custom engineered parts, or for more information about a variety of PTFE seals we can provide, contact Gallagher Fluid Seals today.

The original article was written by Eclipse Engineering and can be found on their website.

The Ideal PTFE Gasket for Tough Applications – GYLON EPIX

The search for the ideal Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) gasket has been elusive. Competing applications and workplace variables have led to the creation of myriad solutions, yet none that has proven fully adaptable and appropriate for universal adoption.

Garlock Sealing Technologies considered this to be a critical yet entirely solvable shortcoming. And it is against this backdrop that in 2016, they set out to compile a comprehensive list of attributes for the ideal PTFE gasket — a wish list, as it were — in order to build a better gasket.

Working with a third-party survey development company, Garlock developed an exhaustive questionnaire that probed every aspect and functionality of PTFE gaskets, testing and adjusting the questions until they had a workable, finalized version.

Using this final questionnaire, Garlock conducted extensive interviews at 15 major chemical processor companies, speaking with 20 engineers responsible for process operations, projects, maintenance and reliability. The goal was simple: to discover the ideal characteristics and their relative importance that engineers sought in a PTFE gasket.

After several months of data collection, Garlock analyzed the feedback and noted the most popular responses:

  • 28% of respondents said that they struggled with how different gaskets required different compressive loads and how to ensure that those gaskets had been installed properly
  • 21% expressed frustration with the creep properties of PTFE gaskets
  • 21% desired a gasket that seals with less compressive load
  • 14% expressed frustration at the installation inconsistencies of their fitters
  • 14% expressed frustration with leaking, especially after a successful installation and start-up

From those answers, Garlock drew the following conclusions, representing the most desirable and essential PTFE gasket characteristics:

  • Seal: Seals easily
  • Installation and assembly: Forgiving of poor installation or assembly practices
  • Forgiving: Forgiving of poor flange conditions
  • Retention: Maintains a seal after installation
  • Flexible: Can be used in a broad range of services to avoid user confusion and reduce inventory

Introducing: GYLON EPIX

Garlock used this feedback in developing a next generation PTFE gasket — GYLON EPIX. Featuring a hexagonal surface profile, GYLON EPIX offers superior compressibility and sealing for use in chemical processing environments. Its enhanced surface profile performs as well or better than existing 1/16″ or 1/8″ gaskets, allowing end-users and distributors to consolidate inventory, lower the risk of using incorrect gasket thicknesses and reduce stocking costs.

GYLON EPIX checks off the most desirable gasket attributes:

  • Installation and assembly: Even distribution of the bolt load over the contacted area of the gasket during the assembly process
  • Retention: Retention of the bolt load administered at assembly
  • Seal: Efficient translation of bolt load to sealing performance
  • Forgiving: The ability to perform in imperfect flanges and installation conditions

GYLON EPIX with its raised, hexagonal profile allows it to perform the job of both traditional 1/16” and 1/8” gaskets. It accomplishes this by combining the bolt retention of the former with the forgiveness for bad flange conditions of the latter, a truly innovative feature for PTFE sheet gasketing. Continue reading The Ideal PTFE Gasket for Tough Applications – GYLON EPIX

5 Polymer Bearing Configurations and Their Advantages

Polymer BearingPolymer wear rings were developed to offer an alternative to dissimilar metal wear rings.

One of the advantages to using a polymer material such as nylon or filled-Teflon instead of a metallic bearing . Whereas when you use bronze or metallic bushings, these materials are prone to point loading on the edges of the bearing.

This property of polymer bearings combined with solid lubricants can yield a product that is much less likely to damage moving components.


5 Advantages to Polymer Wear Rings

  1. Polymer style bearings can be held to very close tolerances in the radial dimension to provide support without excessively opening the extrusion (E) gap by a large amount. Polymer bearings such as filled Teflon can support a compressive load up to 1000 PSI. Nylons up to 36,000 PSI and polyester fiber with resin, up to 50,000 PSI.
  2. Hydraulic cylinders that are found in excavators often use higher compression materials because they experience extreme side and shock loads. However, most applications do very well with filled Teflon materials.
  3. Bearings come solid or split. If designed properly, split bearings provide equivalent support, while improving installation options with no compromise in performance. Solid bearings, or bushings, are convenient when installing on the outboard side of a rod groove. Split bearings are essential when installing in a piston groove designed to function internally in a system.
  4. Nylon or composite bearings are typically cut to allow for installation due to their stiffness. However, a Teflon bushing can be made into a ring, or cut from a roll of sliced strip.
  5. The only time a bushing needs to be cut from a ring is if installation does not allow the strip to be deformed for a clean install. Strip installation allows for variability in length, lower manufacturing costs, and the product can generally be acquired off the shelf.

Materials for Polymer Bearing Configurations

When selecting materials, we must consider the maximum load, the speed of the system, and whether there is any lubrication in the system.

The load (or pressure over area) that the bearing will see is the first consideration. This dictates which materials will be the best fit.

It’s important to use a material that has a minimum compressive strength rating so that it will not fail under the highest loading condition. The industry standard is to employ a safety factor so that the bearing is specified to be used well beyond its design limit.

Teflon should be your first consideration due to cost and ease of installation. Nylon or composites will provide much higher load rating, but the cost and installation need to be considered.

Teflon and composites provide service without lubrication, and the composites provide excellent service in aqueous solutions. Bushings are typically used in medium to slow reciprocating service. Rotary creates challenges that may or may not work depending on the design of the bushing.

There are many series of injection molded nylon bushings. However, nylon in low-lubrication or high-loading may create high-friction, and can be noisy. Nylon, as a low-cost bushing, can be used in some high load situations.

A final consideration before going into large scale production is the cost of taking a bearing design into high production. Some bearing materials are expensive and can only be processed by machining, which limits the cost reduction scenarios at high volumes.

Eclipse Seal

Materials such as filled-PTFE or thermoplastics that can be molded offer cost competitive solutions for high-production applications. Eclipse provides bearings in everything from low-quantity applications, such as bridges and dams, to mid-quantity applications in aerospace.


Gallagher Fluid Seals is a preferred distributor of Eclipse Engineering. Call us at 1-800-822-4063 for more information on Eclipse seals.

Article written by Cliff at Eclipse Engineering, Inc. For the original article, visit their website.

How AMS3678 Ensures Consistency in Sealing Materials

When it comes to designing and developing seals, the aerospace and industrial industries need a basis to allow production anywhere in the world.

One of the first PTFE (Teflon) standards, AMS3678, describes Teflon and the addition of fillers. This was used in conjunction with Mil-R-8791, which is one of the Mil specs describing a backup ring device.

The origin of all these specs dates back to the creation of the O-ring.

AMS3678The Origin of the O-Ring Patent

In 1939, Niels A. Christensen was granted a U.S. Patent for “new and useful improvements in packings and the like for power cylinders.” These referred to improved packing rings made of “solid rubber or rubber composition very dense and yet possessive of great liveliness and compressibility.” These products were suitable for use as packings for fluid medium pistons (liquid or air). The improved packing ring is the modern O-ring.

There was a progression of standards for the O-rings created by individual countries, such as AS568, BS 1806, DIN 3771, JIS B2401, NF T47-501, and SMS 1586. Eventually, AS568 became more accepted in the industry.

The backup ring was originally created to help improve the O-ring’s ability to resist extrusion. Teflon was widely used as one of the materials for backup ring devices. Standards were created to unify the production of this Teflon device.

The Progression of Mil Specs

The progression of standard changes has led to AMS3678/1 for Virgin PTFE through AMS3678/16. These standards describe a group of Virgin- and filled-PTFE materials accepted by the industry for manufacturing seals and back-up ring devices.

Mil-R-8791 was canceled in February 1982. This spec was superseded with AS8791, which eventually evolved into AMS3678.

AMS3678 is a tool used by customers and Teflon suppliers to create uniformity in the manufacturing and processing of seal and bearing materials. The standard is inclusive of most of the compounds upon which the industry was built.

When customers approach with an old “mil spec”, they are pushed to the new AMS spec which is currently active. Eclipse manufactures to the spec so their customers will have the confidence that they manufacture to a known standard.

When crossing custom materials from well-known sources, customers are driven to an accepted spec that is equivalent to the original source of the material. This helps customers sell their products with internationally-known materials rather than custom, home-grown compounds that are often intended to single source those materials.

There are several qualifications of the spec that suppliers must observe. This includes dimensional stability tests. This test ensures the material has been properly annealed, and that the seal or backup ring will fit and function as it was originally intended.

Eclipse is uniquely qualified to supply parts to the latest AMS3678 specification. They understand the scope of the specification which allows us to ship parts with fully traceable certification.

AMS3678 helps validate a material to a customer to ensure they get the same material processed the same way with each order. Beyond this, there are other ways to determine what makes a part process-capable.

Continue reading How AMS3678 Ensures Consistency in Sealing Materials